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Birds of a Feather Spring Break Together

Posted on April 1, 2013 by in The OFI Blog

(Photo: Intern Areanna Sabine with her Co-mentor Nor Faridah Dahlan learning DNA extraction techniques.)

What did you do over Spring Break?

Areanna Sabine spent the week of her spring break learning about some of the cool science that goes on behind the scenes at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.  Areanna, a junior at Brentwood High School in Los Angeles, CA contacted the NMNH Feather Identification Lab over a year ago to inquire about spending her 2013 spring break at the Smithsonian.  Although her visit was short, with the help of her Smithsonian mentor, Carla Dove, Areanna learned the process of identifying feathers from microscopic structures, how to prepare museum specimens, and got a primer on how to extract DNA from bird ‘snarge’.  While her outside interests are in Beach Volleyball and other warm weather activities, she braved the cold spring in Washington to gain a unique experience that will certainly influence her future. Perhaps a career in science?

When asked about her experience working in the Feather Lab and under Carla’s guidance Areanna expressed awe, calling Dr. Dove “Super Mentor” – able to run a busy lab, give tours, find time to share her knowledge and insights as well as teach how to prep a bird skin!